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Old 02-08-2015, 05:20 PM   #1
Brian Sutton
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Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Anyone have specific suggestions, tips or tricks for keeping the shoulders loose while practicing any technique, but especially Ikkyo Irimi from any starting point. I have come to believe that tight shoulders are truly the anti aiki..
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:15 PM   #2
Cliff Judge
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Elbows! Shoot your ki lasers through your elbows.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:01 PM   #3
Michael Hackett
Dojo: Kenshinkan Dojo (Aikido of North County) Vista, CA
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Begin by intentionally relaxing the shoulders (there's that word - relax) by letting them drop down naturally and try to keep them that relaxed throughout the technique. It eventually works, so don't become discouraged when you find tension in your shoulders in the middle of a technique.

That assumes that you don't have an injury or flexibility issue that keeps your shoulders tight.

Good luck.

Michael
"Leave the gun. Bring the cannoli."
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:51 PM   #4
kewms
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Also, if you get stuck in the middle of a technique, there's a good chance it's because your shoulders (or other involved body part) are tense. Quite often, just relaxing them is enough to cause uke to drop like a rock.

Katherine
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:01 AM   #5
dps
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Quote:
Brian Sutton wrote: View Post
Anyone have specific suggestions, tips or tricks for keeping the shoulders loose while practicing any technique, but especially Ikkyo Irimi from any starting point. I have come to believe that tight shoulders are truly the anti aiki..
Practice cutting with a bokken until your arms are too tired to lift the bokken. This will give you the feeling in your shoulders you are looking for.

dps
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:21 AM   #6
Brian Sutton
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Good Stuff :-) Thanks for your input Aiki Webers. The laser beams through the elbows actually make a huge difference. Speaking of huge differences , it always surprises me when you drop those shoulders, how much a difference that makes in performing a technique. It goes from not working to working extremely well. From the shove and jerk to smooth flowing and powerful. That is why I call tight shoulders the Anti Aiki.Thanks again for your input.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:48 AM   #7
phitruong
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

tight rear-end also messed up your ki... i meant aiki too

"budo is putting on cold, wet, sweat stained gi with a smile and a snarl" - your truly
http://charlotteaikikai.org
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:48 PM   #8
SeiserL
 
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Just did a shoulder clinic.
Learn to relax and rotate the shoulder.
Not front or back, up or down.
Isolate before apply.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:48 PM   #9
Mario Tobias
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

1.) research what aiki age is
2.) do a lot of suwari waza kokyuho
3.) focus on transferring the work to the elbows and wrist via wrist rotations.
4.) keep your forearms as near to your body/center before moving. the farther it is from center, the more strength (shoulder power) you will need to apply.
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Old 02-10-2015, 06:30 AM   #10
lbb
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Quote:
Lynn Seiser wrote: View Post
Isolate before apply.
It really is about isolating. I know that "do lots of suburi" is the old-school recommendation, but honestly, I think it's one of those pieces of received and unexamined "wisdom" that's worth questioning. If "lots of suburi" ever does have the effect of better form, it's only by doing it the dumb way, and there are lots of pitfalls along the way. Do it the smart way. Rather than doing "lots of suburi" in the hope of tiring out the big muscles enough so that they can't work any more, so that the small muscles will come into play (and will magically not become injured after having been ignored for so long), learn to isolate the small muscles from the beginning. One suggestion I use is to tell people to lift the sword with their pectoral muscles rather than arms and shoulders -- that's not exactly right either, but it gets you closer to the real thing.
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Old 02-10-2015, 03:27 PM   #11
Jonathan
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Try using your shoulder blades and the muscles that move them to communicate movement from your lower back and hips to your shoulders. Works well for me. Also, being very cognizant of the difference in feeling between tight and relaxed shoulders is beneficial, too. Think in your feet, not your chest and shoulders.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMpT7bFzH3g

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."
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Old 02-10-2015, 04:45 PM   #12
Janet Rosen
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Lats can also be engaged to help with going up - part of Pilates "go down to go up" - once you figure it out you can all in one movement isolate shoulders downward, engage lats, and let hands float up as shoulders go down.

Janet Rosen
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Old 02-10-2015, 05:29 PM   #13
Brian Sutton
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

"Down to go up". Wow, that is also a Tai Chi principle .Great stuff. Thanks for the input.
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Old 02-11-2015, 12:59 AM   #14
dps
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It really is about isolating. I know that "do lots of suburi" is the old-school recommendation, but honestly, I think it's one of those pieces of received and unexamined "wisdom" that's worth questioning. If "lots of suburi" ever does have the effect of better form, it's only by doing it the dumb way, and there are lots of pitfalls along the way. Do it the smart way. Rather than doing "lots of suburi" in the hope of tiring out the big muscles enough so that they can't work any more, so that the small muscles will come into play (and will magically not become injured after having been ignored for so long), learn to isolate the small muscles from the beginning. One suggestion I use is to tell people to lift the sword with their pectoral muscles rather than arms and shoulders -- that's not exactly right either, but it gets you closer to the real thing.
A lot more is going on with the body when doing lots of suburi. Yes it is old school but helps your body to organize itself to move in more efficient ways.

dps
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Old 02-11-2015, 02:04 AM   #15
kewms
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Quote:
David Skaggs wrote: View Post
A lot more is going on with the body when doing lots of suburi. Yes it is old school but helps your body to organize itself to move in more efficient ways.

dps
It also builds upper body strength, especially before you learn how *not* to use the shoulder muscles. Which is not necessarily what you're actually trying to achieve.

Katherine
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Old 02-18-2015, 11:23 AM   #16
tarik
 
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Quote:
Brian Sutton wrote: View Post
Anyone have specific suggestions, tips or tricks for keeping the shoulders loose while practicing any technique, but especially Ikkyo Irimi from any starting point. I have come to believe that tight shoulders are truly the anti aiki..
Slow down to the pace where you can pay attention to learning how to control your own body. Stop trying to control your partner until you have some control over yourself. When you have some control over your own body you can pay attention to all the other things. In some systems, there are lots of exercises that focus on learning correct posture and movement in a solo manner and then with a partner. Find those methods and practice them.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:44 PM   #17
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

When learning any sport, you can't easily relax while in the process of learning. You have to do it hundreds if not thousands of times until you get used to it. You can't just tell someone to relax their shoulders and expect it to work. When you go home, practice the movement by yourself a hundred times a day left and right.

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Old 02-19-2015, 07:36 AM   #18
tarik
 
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
When learning any sport, you can't easily relax while in the process of learning.
That has not been my experience. If you learn how to control your body and move with efficiency, you can learn how to make relaxed your natural state, which makes learning new skills significantly easier.

In fact, this is pretty much a requirement, IMO, for any true skill acquisition. This means that the first thing people should be learning is how to move appropriately and efficiently while maintaining posture and being as "relaxed" as possible. "Relaxed" here meaning that they use ONLY the muscles necessary to perform the movements demonstrated. For some people, that takes a lot of exploration and self-discovery. This is what solo and paired movements that are not techniques are designed to accomplish, but this is often not recognized or paid attention to by many.

Quote:
Rupert Atkinson wrote: View Post
You have to do it hundreds if not thousands of times until you get used to it. You can't just tell someone to relax their shoulders and expect it to work. When you go home, practice the movement by yourself a hundred times a day left and right.
I agree. For many people, who, for whatever traumatic reasons, grew up holding tension, you have to first teach them how to "relax", with thousands upon thousands of deliberate repetitions.

What I don't expect to work very well, is to see people do a full technique at full speed, with tension, thousands of times until the get too tired to do it with tension and suddenly start doing it relaxed. That happens, certainly, but it's random, and often the result is that the posture and footwork used to be strong and try to make the techniques work are entirely different than the posture and footwork that work when being "relaxed" and the wrong movements are now patterned in.

Tarik Ghbeish
Jiyūshin-ryū AikiBudō - Iwae Dojo

MASAKATSU AGATSU -- "The true victory of self-mastery."
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Old 02-20-2015, 01:48 PM   #19
HL1978
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

Keep the scapula in close to the spine, like you are holding a silver dollar between them. They should be relaxed into that position, not forced/ pinned back. This means they will drop in and back rather than floating.

You can then keep them in there by keeping the elbows inwards. You will find that if they point outwards the shoulders float up and out and get used in isolation.

A good yoga teacher will tell you the same thing.
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Old 02-20-2015, 04:11 PM   #20
Janet Rosen
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Re: Tight Shoulders (the anti aiki)

If my scapulae are down and back via the small muscles inferior to them, there is no need to worry about elbows, I can move them freely without affecting my shoulders. Which is exactly what I want.

Janet Rosen
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